Japan Housing Starts Rise Unexpectedly; Consumer Confidence Weakens


Japan’s housing starts increased unexpectedly in August after falling in the previous three months, while consumer confidence weakened in September, official data showed on Friday.

Housing starts rose 4.6 percent year-over-year in August, reversing a 5.4 percent decrease in July, data from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism revealed.

Economists had forecast an annual decline of 4.1 percent.

Similarly, seasonally adjusted annualized housing starts climbed to 903,000 in August from 825,000 in the previous month.

Data also showed that construction orders received by big 50 contractors surged 17.9 percent year-on-year in August, after a 2.8 percent growth in July.

The seasonally adjusted consumer confidence index weakened to 30.8 in September from 32.5 in August, data from the Cabinet Office revealed.

Among the four sub-indexes, the index reflecting overall livelihood fell to 29.1 in September, and income growth dropped to 35.4.

The index for employment decreased to 35.4 and households’ willingness to buy durable consumer goods slid to 23.2.

The latest survey was conducted on September 15, covering 8,400 households.

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